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Russell Webster

Russell Webster

Criminal Justice & substance misuse expert and author of this blog.

Invisible thefts

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The debate about whether crime is falling or rising is complicated by the large numbers of hidden computerised offences of fraud and theft. Last week's theft of $500 billion worth of cryptocurrency was not an isolated event.

Crypto heists

One of the key issues in the discussion about just how much (or even whether) crime rates are falling is the amount of largely hidden online and other computer based fraud and theft.

A rather extreme example of these invisible crimes happened in Japan last week when the Japanese crypto currency exchange Coincheck had to admit having been targeted by hackers who got away with NEM coins worth half a billion dollars on Friday. 

As the Statista infographic based on data by news agency Bloomberg shows, this wasn’t the first such heist. In 2014, the crypto exchange Mt. Gox lost digital currency worth some 480 million dollars. The company based in Tokyo said it had probably been stolen and had to file for bankruptcy in the United States and Japan shortly after. It had been one of the leading bitcoin exchanges. Coincheck for its part has assured its customers that any losses would be refunded.

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